Kimberley Dunbar completed an undergraduate Bachelor of Marine Science, culminating in an honours degree studying estuarine and marine ecosystems at James Cook University. Following this, she pursued a Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology, leading to research work on dingo genetics at JCU. This lead to her interest in population genetics, which in turn lead to her commencing PhD studies looking at marine dispersal and gene flow at UQ under the supervision of Associate Professor Cynthia Riginos.